Austin Songwriter Testimonials

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“I’ve taken lessons with a couple of guitar teachers, but the problem was a lack of structured learning. Lessons didn’t make sense because we just skipped around a lot and there were obvious holes in my education.  This left me feeling like music theory wasn’t really that important to learn.

The thing I appreciated the most about the lessons with Jake was the progression of information.  We started a the lowest level of music theory but very quickly progressed into learning the more complex features of the major scale.  The fact that the lessons flowed in a way that felt natural to me was essential in my ability to retain the information. Music is far more complicated and beautiful than any one person can truly fathom.  The more I learn about music and music theory the more I realize I don’t know, which is a very inspiring atmosphere to be in.

Although music theory is not the only thing you have to learn about writing songs, it will allow you to write more complex songs with greater sophistication. Even better than that, it speeds up your workflow.  That’s the single greatest thing about music theory.  A song that would have taken me weeks to figure out I can now write very quickly because music theory allows me to write with both the left and the right sides of my brain.

It’s strange to me that as a society we think that learning stops after high school or college but in reality, that’s just the beginning of your journey.  I think we owe it to ourselves, as people studying something as immense as music, to continue our education and strive to be the best that we can be.  Regardless of success, we can rest easy knowing that we worked hard and committed ourselves 100%.

People sometimes think that music theory can be limiting or that it will take away your spark as a writer.  If you only learn the fundamentals of music theory and never go beyond that, which is something I see a lot with undeveloped writers, then IT IS limiting.  That is why it’s so important to continue learning about music, music theory, and your instrument you use to express music, whether that be a voice, a guitar, or a DAW.

When you feel stagnant as a musician and you don’t feel like you’re creating anything new, that’s the universe telling you that you’ve mastered what you know and you need to grow.”

-Ben Bazzrea

“Before I started taking guitar lessons with Jake, I was afraid that I would feel intimidated and frustrated by everything there was to learn. I can still remember feeling so excited to take music lessons as a child and then feeling lost once the teacher started getting into complex theory. As an adult, I needed to make sure I wasn’t spending money on something that wasn’t truly beneficial.

My personal philosophy is that, if something feels important to you, it is important. My songwriting is important to me, so I decided to take my next step and improve my guitar playing with lessons. Everything we have worked on so far has incrementally worked it’s way into my songwriting.  I am always pleasantly surprised to see the techniques my favorite artists use are within my reach.

It feels really good to invest in myself and my art instead of other things of lesser value. The only time I get frustrated now is when I have too high of expectations. During one of our first lessons I was feeling really critical of myself and Jake said something that really stuck, “As your technique grows, your ears will have higher standards for what is acceptable.” This is just one of many small pieces of advice that have become helpful to remember during the difficult times in my practice.

I would definitely recommend Jake as a guitar teacher to any songwriters looking to develop their guitar playing. Taking guitar lessons is now on the VERY short list of things I am willing to sit in Austin traffic for!”

– Paige Berry

“When I was looking for a guitar instructor, I did think about cost and travel time, but I prioritized looking for a classically trained guitarist since there are a lot more nuances involved in classical music and I wanted to learn it “the right way.” The last thing I wanted was to spend time and money on lessons and not develop correct technique.

Jake is thorough, patient, and a joy to learn from. I felt encouraged and motivated to practice after a few lessons. Studying with Jake opened up another dimension that I wouldn’t have gotten into otherwise. It breaks me out of muscle memory and playing the same old chords and motifs I regress back to.

I like to be challenged, so the Bossa Nova rhythms, scale positions and new chord voicings were very exciting. I also really enjoyed improvising with other musicians at the jam sessions Jake hosts. All of this greatly helps with composing ,and for me, this was the biggest advantage.  If you have the time to put into practice, I would highly recommend lessons with Jake. My only regret is not always having enough time to practice myself!”

-Sam Shanmugam

Free 1-hr Guitar Lesson for Austin Songwriters!

So many songwriters shy away from guitar lessons because of the cost, the fear of failure, and negative experiences with past music teachers.  As a songwriter myself, I specialize breaking down musical concepts into understandable steps that will inspire your creativity.

As far as price goes, you can’t beat a free, no-strings-attached, 1-hour lesson. If you should choose to continue, I would be happy to talk about pricing that works for both of us.

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About the Author

Jake Farr is a guitar instructor and songwriting mentor to hundreds of musicians across the country. His students regularly perform, jam, and attend exclusive concerts together at his studio in South Austin. Since he began teaching in 2006, Jake has taught in universities, private studios, public schools and art centers.

In addition to his teaching, Jake is a singer/songwriter and a recording artist. Although he teaches all styles of guitar, Jake primarily writes Folk and Indie Rock music.

Outside of his artistic endeavors, Jake enjoys indie movies, Indian cuisine, and traveling with his wife/muse, Emily.